Three years ago today we lost Alex Anthony Viola in Shah

                                     Wali Kot district in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  He died defusing

                                   a series of improvised explosive devices that threatened his

                                team and their mission as they worked to secure and stabilize a

                         village complex that the Taliban had controlled for the entire conflict.


There is a a lot you can say about Alex.  He was brave and put others before himself.  He was brave as he wasn't ordered to do what he died doing.  He did it because he recognized the threat and he always put his team before himself.


I think everyone who ever went into any of the Special Operations units went for the thrill of the action and to challenge themselves.  I would argue they stayed because they found a place where others came before themselves and being a part of that family (and it is a family) was the most amazing thing you can be a part of.  Alex is still a part of our family.  And, he always will be.


And, in case you were wondering.  Alex's Special Forces Detachment took that valley from the Taliban and they did it for Alex.  They did it so well that the Taliban feared them more than anything I had ever seen in all my time in service.  They called out one day on the radio saying not to fight with that Detachment as they would, "chase you down until they killed you."  That was the spirit that Alex embodied.  That was who he was.


Lieutenant Colonel Tommy Stoner

Special Operation Task Force Command


                                 De Opresso Liber- to liberate the oppressed





Staff Sergeant Alex A. Viola

U.S. Army Special Forces

(1984 - 2013)


Staff Sergeant Alex Viola

U.S. Army Special Forces